#RWC2019: Scotland WILL win their next three games – Richard Cockerill

Edinburgh coach is sure national side are better than Samoa, Russia and Japan and will reach quarter-finals

Scotland were dejected by Sunday's loss to Ireland, but Richard Cockerill is sure they will bounce back and win their remaining pool games.
Scotland were dejected by Sunday's loss to Ireland, but Richard Cockerill is sure they will bounce back and win their remaining pool games. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson.

RICHARD Cockerill has never seemed short of self-belief, and he is confident that as long as Scotland display the same quality they will win their next three games and qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals. While not shying away from the fact that the Ireland game was a bitter disappointment, the Edinburgh coach believes that Gregor Townsend’s squad now simply have to put that 27-3 defeat behind them, ignore the vituperation on social media that came in its wake, and concentrate on proving how good they are against Samoa, Russia and Japan.

“It’s just starting, isn’t it?,” Cockerill said today. “You can easily lose the first game. South Africa lost the first game, but they’ll do well in the tournament.

“Scotland lost the first game, and it’s not a perfect start with the performance. But from a national point of view I think we should look positively on it. I know a lot of the homeland like to think the glass is half empty, but the reality is you could lose that game anyway.

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“Let’s think about getting our best team fit, play against Samoa, beat them. Play Russia with your next best team cos you’ll beat them. And then you pick your best team to play Japan.

“We’ll win all those three games if we have the right mindset and get away from all the rubbish that goes on social media and everybody wants to hang everybody in the morning. Get rid of all that rubbish and actually think about we’ve got a good squad, we’ve got very good players, we know we’re more than capable of competing at that level, for sure.

“So let’s get rid of all the shit and get on with preparing as well as we can for Samoa. Let’s go and beat them, and we will. Let’s get everybody fresh, put your next best team out, whatever that is, against Russia. And then let’s go full bore into Japan and let’s win all three games. We’re more than capable of winning all three games, easily, because we’re a much better team.”

A right royal…

Much better on paper, at least. But then, Scotland are also much better on paper than they were in practice against the Irish, which suggested that the squad did not have the right mindset going into that first Pool A game. So how would Cockerill prepare them for the three remaining games in the pool, each of which now comes into the must-win category if they are to reach the quarter-finals?

“That’s happened and that’s done, isn’t it?,” he added. “If we needed a kick up the arse, well we’ve got a royal kick up the arse. That happens to everybody – England in ‘07 got beat 32-0 by South Africa, and lost [the final] by a centimetre with [Mark] Cueto’s foot in the corner. Stranger things have happened.

“We can’t control what’s done. It’s rubbish and no-one likes it. But if I was Gregor, circle the wagons, let’s get the team well prepared, and let’s go out against Samoa, show everybody how good we are, and beat them. Because we’re a bloody good team.

“Of course everybody’s anxious because you want it to go well. Sometimes shit things happen and we just have to get on with it, and I think Scotland will and I think they’ll beat Samoa and Russia and Japan. And I think we’ll set up one humdinger of a quarter-final probably against New Zealand. If Scotland should lose, they’ll probably turn up and play their best game.”

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About Stuart Bathgate 1407 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. Its taken me a few days to process. I’ve watched the game back twice and its clear that although we may have had a plan A, we did not have a plan B or C. When Ireland played their game….and lets face it, its the same game they play consistently, we should have had an answer for that.

    Schmidt is quite one-dimensional and Ireland are not difficult to figure out. But the difference was that Ireland played as a team, enforced their game on us and we allowed our heads to go down almost immediately.

    Then came the second half and we were a little better, but still allowed Ireland to play their game…nearly every time we play Ireland we fall into that trap. Wales is the same. We can’t cope with them for some reason. Both Ireland and Wales set up to frustrate and take advantage of that frustration.

    We need to have good build up through the phases, be technically & tactically astute and overall have patience. Don’t try and explode apart the other teams lines by making stupid judgments on short kicks or pressing on just one part of their game i.e the line out. Oh, and stop using Hogg as the go to person to put up bombs for the opposition to use as a platform for attack.

    For Scotland to succeed as a world rugby Tier 1 side we need to have flexibility and the courage to make the calls required mid-game. Thats the captains job…not the coach. If its not working, change it.

    Above all we need to learn from every experience…good or bad.

  2. If Scotland play with the hunger and desire that Uruguay showed today against Fiji they can win the next three games comfortably, and go into knock-out stages with confidence. I cant quite understand why the boys weren’t able to put their best foot forward against Ireland. Many Scots back home would give their left arm to represent Scotland on the biggest stage. Wholesale changes needed in 2nd and back-row. Also starting to question GT’s ability to get the lads ‘up-for-it’. No doubt GT is a great technical coach but part of me longs for a Telfer/Cockerill type figure who can put a rocket up them before a game.

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